All diseases related to the heart and blood vessels are known as cardiovascular (CVD) or heart diseases. The CVD’s are the leading cause of untimely death worldwide. They are of different types of heart diseases: they may be congenital (people born with heart problems) or it may develop with the course of time.
The formation of blood clot in any blood vessel or part of heart is called Thrombosis. This mass of clotted blood in the blood vessel is known as thrombus. Sometimes through the blood stream the transport of any mass cause the blockage of blood vessel. This is known as embolism. The material, usually in solid or liquid mass present in a site distant from its point of origin is called Embolus.
About 99% of the emboli develop from dislocation or dislodgement of thrombus are therefore called as thromboemboli. Thus, Thrombus and embolus cause death.
The narrowing and hardening of arteries is called atherosclerosis. It puts the blood flow at risk by blocking or narrowing arteries.
The arteries are the blood vessels that take blood from heat to the whole body. These arteries are covered by a thin cell layer called Endothelium. This layer works to keep the blood flow smooth throughout the body.
Atherosclerosis starts with the damage to Endothelium. This damage may be due to:
- Hypertension/ High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
- Stressful competitive life
- Excess alcohol intake
- Not using proper amount of fresh fruits and vegetable
Due to this damage, the cholesterol starts entering the artery. White blood cell starts digesting the cholesterol. Over years, cholesterol and cell form plaque in the wall of artery.
The plaques causes bumps on the artery wall. As the disease progresses the bumps increase in size. They become able to block the artery. Same happens in other body parts. Consequently, not only heart is at risk but also there are greater chances for stroke and other heart diseases.
Atherosclerosis is treatable and preventable. By reducing the above listed risk factors (99% heart diseases causing factors) one can manage to be away from heart problem.
Atherosclerosis does not show any kind of symptoms until middle or older age. But as the Atherosclerosis becomes severe, it may choke off blood flow which might be painful. Blockage sometimes ruptures suddenly and as a result a clot of blood in artery is formed at the site of rupture.
Plaque behave in different form. The following are given three ways:
- Plaque remain in artery wall. After increasing size to a certain limit, it stops.
- It may grow in slow or control way. It causes blockages due to which one feels pain in chest.
- Plaque sometimes get rupture suddenly, which causes blood clot formation in artery. As a result, the chances of heart attack and stroke increases.
A condition of occasional chest pain due to atherosclerosis is called Angina pectoris. In Latin angere means to choke and pecto means breast. It is most likely to occur when heart labors hard due to emotional and physical stress.
Actually Angina pectoris is a sign that some part of the heart is not receiving adequate amount of blood supply. So, that part of heart is likely to have heart attack in near future.
Heart attack, most common among heart diseases
Myocardial infarction commonly called heart attack death of some part of heart due to inadequate supply of blood.
The condition when heart is unable to pump all the blood coming to it, is called heart failure.
The most common causes that your doctor tells you are:
- Past heart attacks
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure/ Hypertension
- Heart valve disease
- Heart muscle disease /inflammation of the heart
- Lungs conditions
- Alcohol or drug intake
- Congenital heart problems
Some less common causes of heart failure are given below:
- Poor kidney function
- Abnormal heart beats
- Overactive thyroid gland
Diabetes would make heart failure more complex problem.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA):
After birth a fetal blood vessel known as Ductus Arterosus closes. But in PDA, this does not happen. The word patent means open. This causes blue babies due to intermixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. PDA is common in babies having congenital heart defects.
The following may be the causes of PDA:
- Premature infants
- Genetic disorders in infant as down syndrome
- Mother who have rubella during pregnancy, the babies will be at greater risk of PDA.
PDA does not cause any symptoms but some babies may have the following symptoms.
- Fast breathing rate
- Poor milk feeding habits
- Poor growth of body
- Sweating while feeding.